Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of death in modern society, and a costly burden to treat – financially, physically and emotionally. A recent study presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology looked at participants in the Framingham Heart Study and found a significant (more than double) association with symptomatic hand osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) and coronary heart disease.
This association was not seen in individuals with hand osteoarthritis that had no symptoms. While osteoarthritis has often been viewed as a “wear and tear” process, these findings suggest there may be a more predominant underlying metabolic cause – systemic inflammation. People that suffer from chronic, symptomatic osteoarthritis most likely just see this as an annoyance, but this may be a red flag of a more serious underlying issue that could be progressing into a life-threatening event.
The majority of chronic degenerative diseases in our society including, but not limited to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis have been shown to have chronic systemic inflammation as the common denominator. The causes of this type of inflammation are multifaceted, and predominantly are due to lifestyle choices and factors. The most common factors that contribute to chronic inflammation include; foods that promote inflammation such as grains, sugar and improper essential fatty acid ratios; smoking; nutritional deficiencies such as Vitamin D; chronic emotional stress; and sedentary lifestyles. One of the most common approaches to treat symptoms associated with joint pain and arthritis is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen. Regular, chronic use of these medications can take a heavy toll on your liver and kidneys. Acetaminophen is actually the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S. Some of these medications also significantly increase the risk of heart failure.
Quell the Inflammation
Many people report their arthritis as just a part of getting older. In light of the above information, degenerative arthritis is not necessarily “wear and tear” or an aging issue, and natural, effective strategies should be taken to reduce and minimise inflammation in your body. Some of the best ways to naturally reduce inflammation are:
– Optimise Vitamin D levels; the only way to know is to have your blood levels checked. Optimal levels are
– Optimise Omega 3: Omega 6 essential fatty acid ratios (strive for 1:1)
– Only consume meat that is grass-fed/pasture-raised and hormone and antibiotic free
– Eliminate/restrict sugar and grains
– Get plenty of antioxidant-rich fresh, organic vegetables and fruits
– Spend at least 15-30 minutes/day planting your feet in the earth
– Include anti-inflammatory herbs such as Boswellia, Turmeric, Ginger and Celery Seed fruit extract in